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Old 05-14-2005, 10:39 PM
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454 Cam Recommendations

The cam in my 84 Chevy P/U went flat, so now is the time to hop it up a bit. I'm hoping to get some cam choices from you guys. Normally I would be able to pick myself, but I actually have no experience with an engine with this low a compression ratio (8:1). I'm going to shave the heads and install steel shim head gaskets for an effective 8.75:1 ratio. Some more specs:

High rise dual-plane intake
Quadrajet carb
Stock ported heads
Stock exhaust manifolds
2.5" dual pipes
Stock converter
4:10 rear gear

My brother-in-law is giving me a Crane HMV 278-2A out of a 427. It specs out at 222/234@.050 with 114 lobe sep. angle. I think it might be too much, but if the engine had 10:1 compression it'd be perfect. I'd like to use it because it is FREE, but if the bottom end will be too soggy I'd just be pissed.

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Old 05-15-2005, 03:36 AM
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i had a 427 with a similar mods to yours..i had a 280 dur with .520 in .544 ex..and 4.10 gears..and it was killer...but it was in a little s10 truck..but being a 454..i would say go for the cam that was given to you..big blocks make so mush low tq that even a larger cam usally does not hurt the low end to much, unless you just go plain crazy with the cam size..also it depends on what you plan on doing with the motor..pulling, crusing, racing..etc...
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Old 05-15-2005, 07:39 AM
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I had the HMV278 in a '79 350 Camaro with similar engine specs to yours (except in a SB of course), a TH350, 2200 stall converter (supposedly) and 3.42 gears. Mine was a dog below 3,000RPM but when it hit 3,000 hang on! It could only muster 16.0's though and couldn't even break the stock radials loose! That was 20+ years ago and that one still bugs me, I consider it my only real failure. I used a generic timing chain set and didn't degree the cam, I was in a hurry to get it together and assumed it was OK. I think that was most of the problem but I didn't keep the car long enough to find out, somebody dangled a shinier bobble in front of me and I traded it off. The new owner thought it was an awesome machine, , he'd obviously never had anything even close to fast.

Don't let my experience scare you off though, I selected that cam based on 2 other cars I knew of running it and they kicked butt, I screwed up somewhere on mine. Normally I would recommend something a step or 2 smaller but it's hard to pass up "free". The 454 will tame that cam down a little, it will have a fairly smooth idle with just a hint of lope, you may lose a little low end but probably not enough that you would notice any difference over the stock smog motor and with the 454 you should have some to spare anyway plus with 4.10 gears you'll be fine. Where you'll really feel it is in the midrange and top end, you will defintely feel a difference there! It will work OK with the stock converter in the 454 but you may want to consider one with a hair more stall. If you just want this to be a cruiser and don't plan on any serious racing you can go the cheap route and go to your local transmission shop and check out their replacement converter catalog. A stock converter for a 350 powered truck like yours should give you enough extra stall speed that you won't be fighting the brakes at stoplights and bogging the motor down. Keep in mind the added torque of the 454 is going to raise the 350 converter's stall speed over what it would be behind the 350 so don't get carried away. A converter that's rated about the same as your stock one or a hair higher should give you just enough extra stall speed to allow it to idle in gear and not have it pushing against the brakes.

You may want to consider a pair of 1-3/4" headers too. For what you have planned those are more than adequate on a 454.
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Old 05-15-2005, 07:53 AM
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What heads...? Are they the peanut ports or the larger ovals...? If the small peanut ports the 1 3/4" headers would be fine... Also a cam in the range of (Duration 276/286, Lift .500/.500) for the peanut heads would work good... For the larger oval ports (Duration 280/280, Lift .520/.520) and up would work better... But of course the stock converter would have to go... Either way the compression you have is the limiting factor (compression makes torque)
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Old 05-17-2005, 12:02 PM
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I'm told this engine has the "peanut ports". Also, My machinist says he can take .050" off the heads, together with the thin gasket will give about 9:1. The stock converter will stay, this truck is used for light hauling and towing. It just seemed really weak for a big block so I'm hoping to wake it up a bit. Headers may be in the future, but for now there's not $$$ for them.

I'm waiting for someone to make the case against this cam, a friend of mine says it's way too big and will be a disappointment. I'm not so sure, the cam in my Olds 455 is 226/230@.050 with 110 lobe sep. and it is very streetable, even idling relatively smoothly at 800 in gear, the difference being the 455 has 10:1 compression.
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Old 05-17-2005, 03:38 PM
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222@050 intake in a 454 is more like 214inatke on a 350.With 4.10 rears,duel plane intake evan with low compression I think it wouyld be fine.
Definetly get headers the cam change power increase will be minimal without them IMO.
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